10,000 French fans headed for World Cup

Ten thousand French fans have registered for World Cup fan passes and France will not boycott the tournament in Qatar, its ambassador to the Gulf state has said.

Ambassador Jean-Baptiste Faivre also said in a television interview broadcast late Monday that 300 French police and paramilitary gendarmes will help Qatar with security for the World Cup that runs from November 20 to December 18.

Qatar has faced intense scrutiny over its human rights record in the run-up to the tournament. Paris and some other French cities have said they will not show matches on giant public screens as they traditionally do for major sports events.

Former French international Eric Cantona has been among figures in Europe calling for a boycott of the World Cup over Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers and rights for women and the LGBTQ community.

Faivre told the Al-Kass sports channel that these protests “do not reflect the position of the government”.

“France will not boycott the World Cup,” he added. According to Faivre, matches would not be screened in French cities because of the “cold temperatures” and the “economic cost” of setting up fan zones.

He said there were “preconceived ideas” in France about Qatar and that “more balance is needed”.

“Of course Qatar is known as an economic partner and it is true that investment and contracts are synonymous with jobs and growth in France, but relations between Qatar and France go well beyond this.”

FIFA says that France is one of the top 10 markets for the 3.1 million tickets and the ambassador said 10,000 French people have registered for the Hayya fan passes which are needed to enter the country.

More than one million people are expected to visit Qatar during the tournament.

France is one of 15 nations helping Qatar with World Cup security. Turkey, Pakistan and Morocco are sending thousands of police to boost Qatari forces.


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